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Make pretty pictures with pretty iPhone photo app Faded

Gorgeous, powerful, and a pleasure to use, Faded stands out in a crowded iPhone photo app field.

I know what you are thinking: another iPhone photo app?

I pass on the vast majority of iPhone photo apps I come across, but Faded has the goods that make it a contender in this crowded field. It boasts a gorgeous design and a number of powerful yet easy-to-use editing tools. The app costs only 99 cents, though a number of filters and effects are available only after you make an in-app purchase. You can buy small packs of filters or effects for 99 cents, or get them all (36 premium filters and 40 premium effects) for $4.99. The app also teases you with premium overlays, which are coming soon. There are a handful of free overlays, which let you add an image, solid color, or pattern over your photo.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

As it stands, your 99 cents goes a long way with Faded. The app launches with a rotating background image and two familiar buttons: Camera and Library.

In Camera mode, you can set both focus and exposure points by tapping on the screen. A row of buttons along the top edge let you control the flash, timer, grid, exposure, and switch cameras. Of particular note for the camera controls are the timer options. In addition to setting the timer for 3 or 10 seconds, you can choose the Snap setting. Akin to CamMe, the Snap setting lets you snap or clap to begin a 3-second timer to snap a shot, a very useful tool for snapping selfies and the like.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

In edit mode, you have access to 34 free filters and a host of other tools. You can apply multiple filters and then make finer adjustments to the exposure, contrast, brightness, temperature, tint, and fade. A slider lets you adjust the intensity of a filter's effect or one of the editing tools. There is also a group of faux film effects such as dust and scratches, emulsion, gradients, and light leaks. You can also choose a frame or vignette effect.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

If you find yourself using the same edit tools over and over, you can save a particular set of edits as an action. To do so, swipe down to view the edit history of a photo and then tap Save Action, which you can then apply to other photos. You can also return to a previous moment in your edit history by tapping on a past edit, but you lose everything that happened after it. I was hoping to be able to swipe on a past edit to remove only it, keeping all other edits whether they happened before or after the one I wanted to get rid of.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

You can save your Faded masterworks to your iPhone's camera roll or export to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, Dropbox, and Evernote.